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Court denies 'affluenza teen' Ethan Couch's request to have judge removed

By Daniel Uria
Court denies 'affluenza teen' Ethan Couch's request to have judge removed
"Affluenza" teen Ethan Couch was denied his request to have District Judge Wayne Salvant removed from his case on Thursday. Judge David Evans, presiding judge of the Eighth Administrative Judicial Region, made the decision after a hearing in which Couch's attorneys said Salvant no authority over Couch because his case should be considered a civil case and argued the judge had a financial interest in the case. Photo courtesy Jalisco State Prosecutor's Office

FORT WORTH, Texas, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Ethan Couch's request to have Texas state District Judge Wayne Salvant removed from his case was denied on Thursday.

A hearing held to remove Salvant on Tuesday could have led to Couch, known as the "affluenza teen," being released from jail, but after the request was denied Couch will continue to serve a 720-day sentence, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported.

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Judge David Evans, presiding judge of the Eighth Administrative Judicial Region, denied Couch's request after his attorneys argued Salvant did not have authority over Couch when he sentenced him to jail time in April because his case should be considered a civil case, according to the Star-Telegram.

Prosecutor Richard Alpert argued that Couch's case "ceased to be a civil case when it was transferred from juvenile to felony court."

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"There's no disputing that," Alpert said.

Couch's attorneys also noted that Couch could sue Salvant for wrongful incarceration, providing the judge with a financial interest in the case.

Alpert dismissed this accusation as merely a "novel theory."

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"Their argument is based on a hypothetical argument that they may sue the judge. It just doesn't make any sense," he said.

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Couch was sentenced to 180 days in jail for each of the four people he killed in a drunk-driving crash in 2013.

During the trial a a defense psychologist controversially testified that Couch's actions were products of "affluenza" -- a mental condition related to his wealthy upbringing which prevented him from being able to distinguish right from wrong.

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His mother Tonya Couch faces prosecution that could send her to prison for between two and 10 years after she was charged with hindering the apprehension of a felon when the two fled to Mexico and missed a probation appointment.

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